HONG KONG — Kiefer Sutherland will be back to play Jack Bauer for an eighth season of the hit counterterrorism drama "24," but the show's longevity will depend on its writers, the actor said Tuesday.
The 42-year-old said "24," currently in its seventh season, will start shooting its eighth in May. He spoke during an interview in Hong Kong to promote the new 3-D animated movie "Monsters vs. Aliens," in which he voices the character of General W.R. Monger.
Sutherland, whose gritty portrayal of the counterterrorism agent has made Bauer an iconic character, said he's committed to the show that's revived his career.
"If I was going to liken '24' to a girlfriend, '24' has been really good to me. And I need to be really good back," Sutherland said.
"There are plays I want to do. There are so many different things I would like to do, but I was so fortunate to be part of something like '24' that my focus is still on that right now," he said.
Sutherland said the show's future also hinges on its writers' ability to shape its story.
"The real pressure is placed on the writers. It's a real question about how much they feel they can give and what they can do," he said.
Sutherland, whose movie credits include "Young Guns" and "A Few Good Men," said he hasn't thought much about his career after "24" and isn't worried about being typecast as a Bauer-like government agent.
"I will do the work I want to do and people can accept it or not," he said.
Working as a voice actor on "Monsters vs. Aliens" was a "fantastic counterbalance" to playing Bauer, he said.
"The relief was unbelievable. For five days a week, 14 hours a day, I'm doing Jack Bauer on '24' and then for five hours on the weekend, I got to kind of proverbially let my hair down and play this character and talk like that and be a kid. I felt like a 5-year-old," said Sutherland, simulating the deep, raspy voice of his character.
"Monsters vs. Aliens," which is about a jailed group of monsters who are freed to help battle an alien robot, opens in U.S. theaters Friday.